Interview

Siemens Plans to Put Focus on Platforms

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? Other automation specialists tend to see the industries as growing together. Why are you going in precisely the opposite direction?

Herweck: A highly complex Conti facility cannot be compared with discrete manufacture in which, under certain circumstances, a user presses the "emergency off" button before going for his lunch break. These are two completely different worlds.

But this does not mean, on the technological side, that certain platforms cannot be used in the other industry and vice-versa, and there are, of course, many hybrid applications. This is precisely where Siemens does indeed have an absolute strength, because we combine automation technology and Conti facility on one platform.

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? What advantages does the new structure give the customer that were not previously available from Siemens?

Herweck: First of all, it is a question of our holistic and clearly focused support for a customer, from products to solutions or covering the entire life cycle. There we certainly did not previously have the tightness that one might have wished for. For different topics, customers had to approach the most varied Siemens areas. With the new structure, this is reduced to a minimum — but always within the framework of the available competences, of course.

Our new formation means that we will be even better in speaking the language of the customer. The second big advantage will become visible when we offer our platform technologies with sector or product-specific characteristics. This leads to considerable advantages for the customer.

? How long will you need for the new division to develop its effectiveness?

Herweck: We are "ready on day one". Let us compare it to a gearbox which runs from the first day onwards. Once we have made two or three wrong gear changes, the rough edges are rubbed off and it runs with the right lubrication. The whole thing is, of course a process. But we have an experienced team and we have already achieved our first positive effects internally among our staff, who had already anticipated this new structure.

? How has the new structure been received by Siemens staff?

Herweck: Very well. I have seldom received so many unsolicited, positive comments from our team — from the most various levels, all the way up to people who have been involved in project management for 30 years now.

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